Vegetarians and vegans have a variety of different reasons why they have chosen a lifestyle that eliminates most or all animal byproducts. Some wish to live a cruelty-free lifestyle, while others may choose the vegetarian or vegan lifestyle for health reasons. Others may have food sensitivities that prevent them from eating animal byproducts such as dairy, while others choose the vegetarian lifestyle or vegan lifestyle for all of the reason listed above.
Whatever the reasons for eliminating animal products from their diet and lifestyle, vegans and vegetarians live according to a strict set of rules, but in today’s ever-changing world, living the vegan or vegetarian lifestyle has gone from difficult to quite easy. It turns out that more restaurants and food providers have begun to make more vegetarian dishes available. Websites, books and a wealth of information can be investigated to understand the general three classifications of a vegetarian.
So, if you are considering becoming a vegetarian, it helps to do your homework. For starters, there are a number of distinct vegetarian classifications. First, the lacto-vegetarian is described as a person who does not eat any meat products, including beef, chicken or eggs. The lacto-vegetarian does however consume dairy products, such as cheese or milk. The second classification is known as the ovo-vegetarian. Similar to the lacto-vegetarian, the ovo does not eat any meat products but can include eggs in the diet.
The most extreme vegetarian classification is called the vegan. This 100% cruelty free diet excludes all meat, dairy and eggs. Vegans derive their nutrition from a variety of fruits, beans, rice, nuts, and vegetables.
In your decision to become a vegetarian, it’s important to know which route would be most comfortable. Going shopping for the foodstuffs becomes easier as you learn to cook and eat with less meat and more with lentils, beans and tofu. One of the ways people make the transition is to buy and eat meat alternatives that taste similar to meat products. Well-know brands are on the market that provide a bridge, including the brands Morningstar Farms and Boca Foods. A great example is for chili lovers. Instead of using meat like hamburger, you can substitute with a product named TVP or textured vegetable protein.
When you run into problems with substitution, you can talk to the grocery manager and find out what they have available. Beside the questions you ask, you may be able to encourage him to carry more products that are appropriate for vegans and vegetarians.
For references and more information on how to make the switch comfortable, check out these sites for details:
GoVeg.com is a site sponsored by PETA. This site provides facts and figures why meat may not be the best diet to continue. It provides cooking recipes and advice on the road to a healthier life. These guys provide a unique 30-day starter kit to help you along the path of becoming a vegetarian.
Vegetarian.about.com operates as a blog keeping you informed on the latest vegetarian news along with recipes you can incorporate in your life. In addition, you can review, comment and keep informed on the latest developments.
Veggieboard.com offers a forum of support. Did you overcook? Did you do it right? This is a great site for early goers and the site allows for mentoring of the newbie.
Motivation is an important part of your dive into the vegetarian world. It helps to have support, a plan and a good understanding of what you want to accomplish.